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Why Is Marine Veteran Jon Hammar In A Mexican Prison?

Courtesy of Olivia Hammar

Marine veteran Jon Hammar in Mexican prison.

Editor's note: For an update on this story, please click here.

A White House petition with more than 20,000 signatures is calling for the freedom of Marine veteran Jon Hammar. Hammar, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been jailed in Mexico for more than four months. His alleged crime was carrying an antique firearm that belonged to his grandfather into the country, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

Marine buddies and media outlets alike have begun to take up Hammar's cause, urging politicians to help bring Hammar home.

They say Hammar, 27, was jailed for illegally possessing a firearm - even though he declared the weapon to Mexican Customs agents.

Knight Ridder news reports Hammar's mother, Olivia, received a letter from the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukban, which read in part:

"As you know well, Mexico has had very stringent gun-control laws in place for many years, and has reinforced their application as a result of the flow of weapons illicitly purchased in the U.S., and then trafficked into Mexico and into the hands of Transnational Criminal Organizations. Mr. Hammar was arrested for the possession of a weapon that according to Federal Law in Mexico is restricted for the exclusive use of the Mexican Armed Forces."

Hammar faces up to 15 years in prison if he's convicted on the gun charges. His next court date is January 17.

This is an interview Hammar's parents did with Fox News:


Parents of Jon Hammar interview

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 18, 2012 at 2:22 p.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

Was he arrested at the time of declaring it?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | December 18, 2012 at 4:01 p.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

Just a few more questions:

Why was he bringing a firearm into Mexico in the first place?

What does being a former Marine have to do with this?

Does it somehow make him better than the thousands of other Americans jailed in Mexico for far less than firearms violations?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 18, 2012 at 8:50 p.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

Err, mmmaybe because of his military background, he actually knows how to handle a firearm and not use it for mere posturing . . .

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Avatar for user 'JPalen'

JPalen | December 21, 2012 at 9:50 a.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

CaliforniaDefender, as far as I know, he was going on vacation, with a final destination of Costa Rica. The gun was handed down to him from his grandfather, I believe. People do this sort of thing all the time, and it is not illegal at all, so long as you check your items with Customs, which he did.

Reports are that once he followed the directions of U.S. Customs to file the paperwork and check it in with Mexico (and telling him that it was perfectly legal to do so), the Mexican police, instead of granting him approval, turned around and tried extorting money from his family in exchange for his release.

This is a case of kidnapping by the notoriously corrupt Mexico police.

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Avatar for user 'JPalen'

JPalen | December 21, 2012 at 9:53 a.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

To be honest, what I'm wondering is why the White House is creating a public petition. Why the hell would the White House need to do that? Thw White House is supposed to be the ultimate diplomatic authority for the U.S. Wouldn't a call to President Nieto in Mexico do so much better than a webpage asking for people's electronic signatures?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 21, 2012 at 11:29 a.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

What I am wondering, is why did he want to bring a shot gun to costa rica? Was he going to hunt down there or something? Knowing how corrupt mexican cops are, I would not even consider carrying anything like this, or anything valuable, inside that country.

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